International Perspectives on Noh Drama: roundtable discussion

  • Parker, H. (Chair)
  • Ashley Thorpe (Speaker)
  • Gemma McGregor (Speaker)
  • Munenori Takeda (Speaker)
  • Fumiyuki Takeda (Speaker)
  • Grey Micah (Contributor)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


After last year's visit to us in Asian Studies - his first to a UK university - Munenori Takeda had expressed a keen interest in further interaction with researchers. So, this time we decided to bring in the roundtable discussion to build on the link initiated in 2018 and foster intellectual exchange between master practitioners of Noh and academics and students working on Asian Studies and Theatre. The Noh masters were in conversation with Ashley Thorpe, Senior Lecturer in Theatre at Royal Holloway and Director of Noh Training Project UK, and Gemma McGregor, an Orkney-based composer who plays flute and shakuhachi, many of whose works are influenced by traditional Japanese music.

Some of the key topics explored were: difficulties and benefits of writing and performing Noh using non-Japanese source material; developing traditional Noh training for performers outside Japan; the resilience, versatility and universal appeal of Noh as a form of expression, and the relationship between the actors and their audiences in Noh.

The Noh masters emphasised how promoting Noh internationally and collaborating with performers from other countries can both help preserve the 600-year old performing art and lead to exciting innovations. Gemma McGregor spoke about her recent residency at The Red House, Aldeburgh, studying the influence of Noh on Benjamin Britten's music and starting work on her new chamber opera, inspired by Noh. Ashley Thorpe introduced his English language Noh, Emily, first performed in traditional Noh style by students at Royal Holloway two years ago, which presents the dramatic death of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison from the perspective of the jockey who was riding the king’s horse.
Period11 Nov 2019
Event typeSymposium
LocationEdinburgh, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • noh drama
  • traditional noh training
  • actor-audience relations
  • international collaboration
  • innovation
  • music composition
  • dance